Mindfulness and parenting definition and meta study
In a parenting context, mindfulness was nicely defined and training both the parent and child was found to provide the most beneficial impact for families. This meta study looked at the contribution of mindfulness-based therapies for children and families, and summarized mindfulness:
“Mindfulness is the development of a nonjudgmental accepting awareness of moment-by-moment experience. Intentionally attending to one’s ongoing stream of sensations, thoughts, and emotions as they arise has a number of benefits, including the ability to react with greater flexibility to events and sustain attention.”
While it is difficult to summarize research studies on the impact of mindfulness, the authors found increasing evidence that mindfulness-based therapeutic techniques can have a positive impact on a range of outcome variables.
TIPS Coaching™, and parenting models like The Whole Brain Child, incorporate mindfulness, even though they are not necessarily “therapeutic”. Parents are encouraged to observe their own feelings, thoughts, and reactions as they observe their children and work to understand and accept their children’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. As parents pause to give attention to what is unfolding in the moment, it becomes easier to consider options and respond thoughtfully. Children then come to understand, how their parents are controlling their behavior, managing their emotions, and carefully considering their thoughts.
Harnett, P. H. and Dawe, S. (2012), The contribution of mindfulness-based therapies for children and families and proposed conceptual integration. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 17: 195–208. See the abstract here.